GULFPORT — For one half Tuesday, Lakewood and Boca Ciega made basketball look like a joy ride, a frantic series of full-court sprints, pull-up 3-pointers and rim-rattling dunks.
It was a fastbreak out of the gate with the teams combining for 98 points in the first half, including 62 in the second quarter.
Then the lungs and legs started to catch up.
And that's when the Spartans' defense went to work.
Applying pressure at the right time, Lakewood pulled out an 89-80 victory over its fiercest neighborhood rival.
"In the first half we were kind of standing pat and not recovering on defense," Spartans coach Dan Wright said. "But we always push it and push it and find a way to win."
The turning point came midway through the fourth quarter when the Spartans went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 77-71.
And the Spartans did it without Victor Perkins and Dominic Lane, who both fouled out.
"If you told me we would be able to come in here and beat Boca Ciega without Dominic Lane being much of a factor, I would have thought you were crazy," Wright said. "But we have a great group of players, and they were able to pick up their teammates tonight."
The Pirates' hopes of coming back were hurt when their best post player, Julius Forte, fouled out in the last two minutes.
Shamon Cox led the Spartans with 28 points, including 10 from the line.
Kevin McKellar scored a team-high 22 for Boca Ciega, including three 3-pointers.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.